Favouritism for the richest race of the Sydney autumn carnival will be up for grabs when Fiorente and It’s A Dundeel clash in Saturday’s Ranvet Stakes.
The Melbourne Cup winner shades It’s A Dundeel in early markets for the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes but a victory by the New Zealander at Rosehill would almost certainly elevate him to top billing.
“Fiorente is a $3.50 favourite in the Queen Elizabeth but It’s A Dundeel at $4.60 has been more popular,” said TAB fixed odds spokesman Matthew Jenkins.
“If It’s A Dundeel wins on Saturday he’ll be the favourite.”
The pair are on a collision course this autumn with the Ranvet the first of three battles.
They are set to meet again in The BMW (2400m) two weeks from Saturday and in the reinvigorated Queen Elizabeth (2000m) on April 19.
It’s A Dundeel was one of the star’s of the 2013 Sydney carnival with his clean sweep of the three-year-old triple crown.
At his only run this preparation he showed his trademark acceleration to hit the front in the Chipping Norton Stakes before being run down late by a race-fit Boban.
However, punters who supported him at Warwick Farm have not been discouraged by the defeat.
“Despite being beaten as an odds-on favourite in the Chipping Norton, early punters are quite keen and quite forgiving of It’s A Dundeel and they’ve been happy to take the $2.90,” Jenkins said.
Fiorente heads to Sydney having posted two resolute wins in Melbourne, highlighted by an Australian Cup triumph.
Despite that form, he is set to start at his most appealing price yet this campaign – $2.50.
The TAB has him a marginal top pick, although some bookmakers can’t split the pair and have posted them equal favourites.
Jenkins too believes the Ranvet is as a two-horse showdown.
“I think a lot of people do,” Jenkins said.
“And it’s what the early punters are telling us.
“It’s hard to really make a case for any of the others.”
The others include last year’s winner and Australian Cup placegetter Foreteller ($11) who has bumped into Fiorente at four of his past five starts and has followed in his wake each time.
The Melbourne Cup winner’s Gai Waterhouse-trained stablemate Carlton House ($9) is the only other one of the nine runners at single-figure odds.